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ESA Mission Control Rooms (MCR) are complex environments in which auditory warning sounds are used to convey important messages to MCR operators (Spacons and engineers) about the current state of the mission they are monitoring. However, the warning sounds that are currently being used in MCRs have not been systematically designed to indicate the type of system failure and further elicit the desired and accurate user response. This document summarizes the research-based auditory display design activities conducted for the ESA Mission Control Rooms at ESOC / Darmstadt, Germany in 2014.

The research and sound design team consisted of members from the Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering and Plymouth University, School of Psychology. The main team members included one industrial designer specialized in sound design and research (Özcan, TUD) and two experimental and applied psychologists specialized in auditory perception and cognition in the field of sound design and application (van Egmond, TUD and Edworthy, PU). The main task consisted of three parts: i. analysis of the current situation in the mission control rooms in which operators (Spacons and engineers) responded to auditory messages and took further action; ii. design of an auditory display with auditory messages (i.e., sounds) that corresponded to the operators’ needs and system requirements; and iii. evaluation of the designed sounds with operators.

Executive Summary

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